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This Week's Walks - Archive

Please see the Saturday Walker's Club This Week's Walks page.

This is an archive of walks done by the Saturday Walker's Club. You should only need to use this page if the SWC website is down.

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Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Ullapool Week 21-28/05/16

29 Walkers (not all present all of the week) are attending this year's Scottish Extravaganza, based in 3 houses in Ullapool, plus a few spaces in B&B's and the Youth Hostel.

16 comments:

Thomas G said...

Sunday 22/05
After some first-hand reports of atrocious weather in the preceding days, everyone was braced for the worst, but we seem to have hit a break in the usual westerlies...

For the first day the decision was made to have all walks in the same area to facilitate easy transport and a possible reunion at the tea place...

Long Walk - Culnacraig Circular via Ben More Coigach ridge and Sgurr an Fhidhleir (with optional extension onto some surrounding tops) N=8 walkers embarked on this rarely walked excursion in a very remote corner of Coigach, a 45 mins - very scenic - drive from Ullapool. Some strenous ascent, much of which steep, much of which on indistinct paths, but ample rewards on the top of the ridge: surround views on a w=sunny day (while most surrounding tops were strafed by clouds and/or rain). After also climbing the Peak of the Fiddler, a select few opted for the extension to some neighbouring tops, to be rewarded with the only shower of the day on the descent. From there to the - now again - sun-drenched Beer Garden of the Bar of the Summer Isles Hotel in Achiltibuie for a well deserved tea with scones and a few alcoholic beverages. There we met the walkers who had done the...
Medium Walk - Posties Path (Blughasary to Achiltibuie)
About n=10 took this option, dropped off at the start and picked up at the finish by the long and short walkers. Apparently this path (broadly along the coast) proved surprisingly mountainous, crossing cliffs and gorges, but was considered a success nonetheless, what with spotting seals and some grand views of The Summer Isles along the way.
Low Walk - A short-ish circuit from Achiltibuie was ordered, along the coast and incl. 2 stops for tea and lunch plus some sightseeing (from what I understand), n=the-rest.

Thomas G said...

Monday 23/05
With the forecast promising a dry and sunny day...

Long Walk - ...the choice was made to tackle the 'Pride of Assynt', 'Scotland's Most Distinctive Mountain', 'The Uncontested Showpiece of Sutherland': Suilven.
The walk-in from the A835 near Elphin looked a good choice on paper, but was made much longer than anticipated due to the paucity of the paths. Nevertheless, with the w=sunny-and-warm weather, the n=11 walkers had only minimal complaints. After a much needed lunch break in the sun, the 300m-in-a-straight-line ascent up to the saddle of Suilven was tackled; for some that was their first experince of precipitous ascent, all dealt really well with the task. From there a select few ventured to the westerly - walkable - top 130m higher up, while the rest sunbathed or explored the start of the easterly - only for scramblers - top of the long ridge. A hairy descent and a long walk back to the cars (thankfully along better paths than the morning route) made for a 20.45 end to the walk.
Short Walk - Stac Pollaidh, followed by lunch and a Coastal Walk (centred around Achnahaird Bay, I believe)
Short and sharp ascent to this most iconic medium high mountain with optional scrambling along the top, with superb views of the Inverpolly wilderness, Suilven, Cul Mor etc. Lunch stop in some bar with a terrace overlooking the sea, followed by a 2 hour coastal walk in the area. n=11 participants.

JohnnyHastings said...
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Thomas G said...

Tuesday 24/05
With a car load of people off to the Isle of Lewis for a couple of days, just two walks on offer today. A day of w=sunny weather, with the initial cloud cover on the tops steadily lifting from around lunch time.

Medium Walk - Beinn Enaiglair from Braemore Junction Car Park
16km Circular Walk ascending through forest and then circling this Corbett at a lower level with great views to neighbouring hills and down the River Broom valley. n=7 walkers then followed local advice to visit the nearby Corrieshalloch Gorge, and did not regret that choice.
High Walk - Fannich Forest Circular (from car park at a bend on the A832)
First rising gently from the shores of Loch a' Bhraoin along the Allt Breabag, then steeply up the flank of the first of three Munros, Meall a' Chraisgaidh, on whose sunny slopes us n=10 sat down for lunch. Further along the ridge through a dip to the - still clouded in drifting fog - Sgurr nan Clach Geala, at 1093m the highest of today's tops. Back down and up again to the last high top, Sgurr nan Each. Steep descent, short suntanning break on a rock slab, and down the beautiful valley of the Allt Breabag along a stalker's path.

Now for tomorrow, the MWIS forecast warns of the risk of sunburn on the tops! Some risk we couldn't quite envisage when packing last week, where are the shorts when you need them...?

Andrew said...

Great that the weather's been good. How about bagging Ruadh Stac Mor? A challenge, even for Thomas.

Thomas G said...

Ruadh Stac Mor? Best left for the first SWC bothying trip. Working on it...

Wednesday 25/05
Just one walk today to give everyone the chance to get up a proper mountain top under their own steam, and to rest the legs of the high walkers for tomorrow's challenge.

Medium Walk - Beinn an Eoin Circular (from layby on Achiltibuie road)
n=19 walkers rose up to the challenge of this proper Mountain Walk on a very w=sunny day, incl. boggy ground, heathery slopes, tussocky descents and some fierce cold wind on the top. Splendid views were the reward to the surronding mountains (Ben More Coigach Ridge, Sgurr an Fhidhleir, Stac Pollaidh, Suilven, Cul Beag) and across scenic lochs out to the sea and the Outer Hebrides.
Hardly any SWC-trip goes by w/o accident these days though, as - unfortunately - one walker went over her ankle on the descent and had to be carried down the hill. Great team effort that.

Thomas G said...

Tough High-Walk postponed to Friday, therefore...

Thursday 26/05
High Walk - Quinag
Mega-Classic three-Corbett walk on Euro sign-shaped ridge in the far North of Assynt with brilliant views: past Kylesku into Sutherland, South and East to the - by now - usual suspects: Suilven, Stac Pollaidh, Cul More, Ben More Assynt, Conival etc.
Well-engineered paths in this John Muir Trust-owned land on the approach and descent. Rock slabs on the steeper initial ascent, and - on another w=sunny day - dry ground everywhere, i.e.: easy walking.
n=16 walkers at the start, 9 of which did the shortcut, managing one of the Corbetts and a subsidiary top, then descending down the valley, the rest finishing the outlying Corbetts.
Short Walk - Old Man of Stoer
n=4 on this coastal highlight in the northwest corner of Assynt, followed by lunch in Lochinver and an out-and-back walk to the spectacular Falls of Kircaig, then a drive down the 'wee mad road' to the Achiltibuie road.
n=1 walked Stac Pollaidh after dropping his wife off at Inverness Airport and still found time for a visit to the Summer Isles Hotel Beer Garden.
Others: unaccounted for.
An incident-free day.

Anonymous said...

Saturday 21/05/16 a fair number of us met in Ullapool for food and drinks before the full walking onslaught
There were various easier options and tourist opportunities around to break up the onslaught of proper Scottish walks. So something for everyone, although a little disorganised ,

Thomas G said...

With some walkers already departed - either home or to the Isle of Lewis - lower numbers on another w=sunny day

Friday 27/05
Medium Walk 1 - Beinn Enaiglair from Braemore Junction Car Park (same as Tuesday)
n=7 walkers chose this option.
Medium Walk 2 - Dundonnell Forest from Corrie Hallie Car Park
Another n=7 walkers on this expedition into a hidden valley behind the mighty An Teallach hump of a mountain.
High Walk - An Teallach (circular ridge walk, anti-clockwise from Dundonnell Car Park)
Only n=3 took up the challenge, the partly quite scary write-ups discouraging other high walk regulars. But - as we found - all the scary (or interesting, depending on your viewpoint and experience) scramble sections could be avoided, if one wanted to do that. So, maybe, an opportunity missed...
Steady 1000m ascent from the car park along good paths, with only some short respite from the climbing on a ridge below the first Munro. Down and up to the second Munro, again without difficulties. From there the fun starts: Lord Berkeley's Seat and the Four Pinnacles: exposed scrambling (mostly Grade 2) in perfect weather on dry rock, an absolute pleasure. Some hair-raising drops to the NE combined with enormous views made this an absolute delight.
2 of the 3 walkers tackled 3 1/2 of the Four Pinnacles (not the Grade 3 drop = 'The Bad Step'), while the real surprise (especially to himself) was walker number 3, who, after having proclaimed he was going to do only the 'Up to the Munros and back down'-option, then scrambled 2 of the 4 Pinnacles. Then up, down and up to two more tops, followed by 950m of descent back to sea level, partly on a steep scree slope, but then along a good stalker path.
The inevitable road walking back to the car was made easier today by some dense roadside gorse plantations in full bloom, a river bubbling away below the road, and lots of classic cars passing (on some 10 days around Britain-Tour).
The best Scottisk Walk ever? Maybe.

Thomas G said...

So, in summary:
6 days of cracking walks
30 minutes of precipitation (bless those easterly winds)
half a day of cloudy tops
1 injury
1 "a walker has gone missing and is incommunicado-incident" (later found roadside, hitch-hiking)

more cuckoos heard than in the rest of my life together
ptarmigans heard but not seen
lots of deer and sheep, some coos and grouse
plenty of bog, tussock, heather, and bog, tussock, heather, and bog, tussock, heather...and gorse.
1 serious rant of controlled aggression from our Dear (walk) Leader, to clear the air. Some half-hearted apologies were later made for the form of delivery, but not really for the content.

Masive thanks to Robin S for organising this trip, especially for finding the two large houses most of us stayed in.
Thanks to both Robin S and John L for providing leadership when is was needed (and needed it was).
Thanks to everyone (walkers and readers) for bearing with me. Ta.

Over and Out.

Walker said...

Having six days of glorious weather in North West Scotland, this I can forgive you, Thomas. But hearing lots of cuckoos.....MASSIVE jealousy about that

Graham said...


A great week of walking in ideal weather. Thanks Robin and
John for the organisation, also to the car drivers. The wild
rugged mountains were sometimes challenging but very
rewarding. The mountains along with the dramatic
coastline gave stunning views. Thanks also to those with
more mountain craft who helped the rest
of us, step forward Thomas!

Anonymous said...

Day 6 (Friday, 27th May) Shenavall circuit - medium walk. 3 walkers on this fine circuit on a warm, sunny day with a light breeze. Lovely walk through beautiful birchwoods forest, wild moorlands with magnificent views of the surrounding mountains and quiet inland lochs. Although graded 3 boots, it was an easy walk on clear paths; and the grounds were quite firm so the bog factor was nearer to Zero rather than grade 4. So a fantastic end to a wonderful week of unforgettable walks.Thanks to all.

Thomas G said...

Karen and my photos have now been uploaded to the website (check 'New Photos', not sure where else they will go). LOTS of photos, despite some extensive culling (and 2 videos as well), no complaints please!
Unfortunately, due to our cameras having different times in their setup (South East London time vs West London time maybe ???), they are NOT exactly chronological.

Also to be found here:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/organize/?start_tab=one_set72157669055484266
(hope the link works)

Thomas G said...

addendum: it is probable that only the Flickr link will give you ALL the photos, as there is a limit to how many photos one can upload to the site per walk post.

Andrew said...

Try this link

https://www.flickr.com/search/?tags=swcwalks%20ullapool&view_all=1

Pretty spectacular! Had forgotten how dramatic the Scottish mountains are.

Just hope the Surrey Hills aren't too much of an anticlimax for you all this weekend.